“There are poisons in your pap!” shouted the street performers at the Howick Falls on Saturday, startling passers-by who eat Genetically Modified (GM) maize every day without even realising it.
As part of the Global Campaign today against Monsanto and Biotech industries, the Yizwa Drama group in collaboration with the MMAEP, created a play about the effect seed giant Monsanto is having on our food.
Did you know that South Africa is the only country to allow a staple food to be Genetically Modified? 86% of maize, 90% of Soya and 100% of cotton grown in South Africa is GM. Soya and Maize are found in processed foods including bread, baby food, baked goods, sweets, meat and dairy substitutes. Cotton seed oil is used to preserve tinned sea foods & to fry fast foods. Foods with more than 5% GM content should be labelled, but many food producers are refusing to do so.
In the play performed by youngsters from Mpophomeni, a demoralised farmer says “I can’t keep fighting these big bullies. I will leave farming and go to the city. My connection to the land is destroyed. My children will grow up begging on the streets. We will have to steal food.” GM crops can put farmers into debt because the seed costs more, needs more fertiliser and increases herbicide use. GMO companies profit by making sure that farmers may not grow GM crops or save GM seed without paying the company a patent fee.
Andiswa Mfubo is really concerned, having only learnt about GM crops recently. She has written poems about the issue and passionately sang “We mustn’t play God” to the entranced crowd. “I am only 21” she told me “but because of my body I look much older. I believe now that it is the food I have been eating that has done this.”
In conclusion the call to the crowd was “Wake up people! Wake up and get healthy! If you love life say no to Monsanto, fight for your food, grow gardens and save seeds, save yourself!” Then everyone headed off to the town centre to keep spreading the word.
See action from around SA at: https://www.facebook.com/NOGMO.SouthAfrica